The Burra Charter defines the basic principles and procedures to be followed in the conservation of Australian heritage places.

In 1979, the Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance was adopted at a meeting of Australia ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) at the historic mining town of Burra, South Australia. It was given the short title of The Burra Charter.

The Burra Charter accepted the philosophy and concepts of the ICOMOS Venice Charter, but wrote them in a form which would be practical and useful in Australia. The Charter was revised in 1999 and has since been adopted by the Australian Heritage Council (December 2004), the Heritage Council of New South Wales (December 2004), the Queensland Heritage Council (January 2005) and the Heritage Council of Victoria (July 2010). It is also recommended by the Heritage Council of Western Australia[3] and the Tasmanian Heritage Council.

The Burra Charter identifies three levels of repair for heritage structures. These are:

  • Preservation – Maintaining a structure in its existing state and preventing further deterioration.
  • Restoration – Returning a structure to a known earlier state by the repair of existing fabric without the introduction of new materials.
  • Reconstruction – Returning a structure to a known earlier state by the introduction of new material into any remaining fabric.

Excerpts from an Australia ICOMOS brochure explaining the principles of heritage conservation. Retrieved 15 August 2011.

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